What happen when we plant seeds in mid-July ?

ravel30(4)July 20, 2010


My name is Matt and I am beginning in the wonderful hobby that gardening is. I asked some questions about a year ago and received some very kind responses from many of you. Many thanks again regarding that.

Last week, I found a beautiful seeds mix by what seem to be an amazing company named Nature's garden seed company (from Victoria in BC)


I was very excited when I purchased it and I found a great spot to plant the seeds in my garden. The mix includes:

Black-Eyed Susan, New England Aster, Butterfly Weed, Purple Coneflowers, Fireweed, Indian Blanket, Large-leave Lupine.

I am well aware that we are in mid-july and that chances are that none of the seeds that I could plant at this time would bloom. So I have a few questions for you:

1-If my wish if for the flowers to flower next year, is it better if I plant the seeds now, in late October or in the early Spring of next year ?

2- If I plant the seeds now, and the plants start growing this year (without necessarly blooming), would it imply that they will grow again next year ?

3- Would you have any other recommandations to make my project successful ?

Thank you for reading me and helping me.


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dianasan(z5a Mtl)

Hi, ravel.

Given that you're in Zone 4, I don't think that any of the plants would get to bloom before frost if you plant them now. Most of the plants in your mix are not hardy perennials in your zone and will return year after year only because they self-sow; therefore, if they don't mature enough to produce seeds, they won't come back.

As for planting in October, I know that Lupines can be sown in the Fall, in fact I have a packet of seeds ready and waiting to do just that. I would suggest that you research the individual flowers and see if they can be sown in the Fall.

One other suggestion is that you visit the Canadian Winter Sowing Forum and read the FAQs. I've never done it, but I was so intrigued when I looked into it that I think I'll be trying it this coming winter.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:00PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hi Ravel: I agree with Diana. If planted now a couple may survive the winter but many of them are half-hardy perennials which will bloom their second year and die. I have been a winter sower for about 5 years and of this mix I have successfully winter sown the following: Black Eyed Susan (will flower the first year and re-seed), New England Aster,Butterfly Weed (blooms first year and comes back),Indian Blaket (blooms second year and does not usually survive our winter), Lupine (blooms second year and survives), Purple Cone Flower (blooms second year and is a hardy perennial here). If I were you, I would sow some in the fall and see what comes up in the spring. You may then want to sow some more in the early Spring. You may want to use the winter sowing method but then you will need to transplant. If you just scatter in the fall, it's just like sowing poppies. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:10AM
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seed in fall for spring germination. However with most perennials, you probably won't see them bloom until the year after. So invest too in annuals that self-seed. Poppies are one these kinds.

Tell us the province you are located in so we can make recommendations on what other plants to use.

I like meadow gardening and utilize many plants that are non-traditional garden plants. For example Joe pye weeds which attract birds, look great and are hardy to your zone. Coneflowers are definitely ok in your zone. I'll see what else might work out and post it here.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:42AM
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Perennials for Zone 4
Aster (Aster sp.)
Astilbe (Astilbe sp.)
Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
Balloon flower or Chinese bellflower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
Basket-of-gold (Aurinia saxatilis)
Beardtongue (Penstemon)
Bee balm (Monarda)
Bellflower (Campanula sp.)
Bergenia (Bergenia sp.)
Blanket flower
Bleeding heart (Dicentra)
Bluestar (Amsonia)
Boltonia (Boltonia asteroides)
Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla)
Bugbane (Cimicifuga)
Bugleweed (Ajuga sp.)
Bugloss (Anchusa)
Campion (Lychnis)
Candytuft (Iberis)
Cardinal flower (Lobelia)
Carnation (Dianthus)
Chamomile (Anthemis)
Columbine (Aquilegia) Coral bells (Heuchera) hybrids
Coneflower, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
(Coreopsis grandiflora and Coreopsis verticillata))
Cranesbill (Geranium)
Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Delphinium (Delphinium)
Fleabane (Erigeron)
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Foxglove (Digitalis)
Gas plant (Dictamnus)
Gayfeather (Liatris)
Globeflower (Trollius)
Goatsbeard (Aruncus sp.)
Golden-ray (Ligularia)
Hellebore (Helleborus)
Hosta (Hosta) hybrids
Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) (shrub in warmer zones)
Iris (Iris and Iris cristata and Iris reticulata)
Lady's mantle (Alchemilla)
Lamb's ears (Stachys)
Leopard's-bane (Doronicum)
Lily (Lilium)
Lupine (Lupinus)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula)
Onion, flowering (Allium) Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis) Peony (Paenoia)
Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Pincushion flower (Scabiosa) Poppy (Papaver)
Primrose (Primula)
Sage (Salvia officinalis and Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Sea holly (Eryngium)
Sea lavender (Limonium)
Solomon's seal (Polygonatum)
Speedwell (Veronica)
Sunflower (Helianthus)
Swordleaf (Inula ensifolia)
Thrift (Armeria)
Valerian (Centranthus)
Valerian, red (Centranthus)
Violet (Viola)
Windflower (Anemone)
Wormwood (Artemisia)
Yarrow (Achillea)

Shrubs for Zone 4
Broadleaf Evergreen Shrubs
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
Garland flower (Daphne cneorum)
Inkberry (Ilex glabra), with protection
Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Oregon Grapeholly (Mahonia aquifolium), warmer areas
Pieris, Japanese (Pieris japonica), Zone 4b with protection
Rhododendron(Rhododendron), some kinds

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Deciduous Shrubs
American cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum)
Azalea, Northern Lights series
Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Bottlebrush, Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis)
Burning bush (Euonymus alatus)
Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)
Cinquefoil, bush (Potentilla fruticosa) Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)
Dogwood (Cornus)
Enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus)
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Fothergilla (Fothergilla)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Hydrangea (Hydrangea), some types
Korean Rhododendron (Rhododendron mucronulatum)
Lilac (Syringa)
Rose (Rosa)
Serviceberry (Amelanchier)
Silverberry (Elaeagnus commutata)
Smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) in protected areas
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Spirea (Spiraea), some kinds
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus)
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima)
Viburnum (Viburnum)
Willow, dwarf blue-leaf Arctic (Salix purpurea)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:13PM
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Dear dianasan, ianna and northener_on,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. All your explanations make full sense. I did read the instuctions on the pack of seeds that I got and it said to plant in early Spring for best results.

I just thought that since these flowers are perennials, I could plant them now and they will grow a little and then Winter would come. And then come next Spring, the flowers would just grow normally because the plants would have grown some roots the previous Summer/Fall.

I understand that some of the plants in the mix may do that but now all of them.

I forgot to mention that I am very fond on native plants and would really like to grow plants that are native.

ianna, you mentionned the Joe-Pye weed. I had the chance to seem some in a local garden and found them very nice. I am also a birdwatcher so anything that attracts birds is good too. How easy is it to grow Joe-Pye weed from seeds ?

I also have a big problem with our yard. The yard is not ours (we are renting the house) but the owner told us that we could garden as much as we like. The yard is fairly small and is surrounded by tall Hedges. Within the hedges, there is also an apple tree that take a lot of space and a lot of light from our garden.

As a result, our black-eyed Susan did not grow straight. Same for our New-England Asters and one Canada Goldenrod. We have 1 purple coneflower that is straight and about 4 or 5 Giant Hyssop too (I started them from seeds during the Winter 2009 and they survived marvelously well outside. I am very proud of me for that). The only plants that I planted 1 year ago that survived were: Wild Columbine, Purple Coneflower (1 out of a 15), Black-Eyed Susan (lots), New England Aster and Giant Hyssop. What did not survived: Wild Bergamot, Butterfly Weed

There is one 6' by 3 feet spot that has a fair among of sun that I am thinking of using to grow the pack of seeds that I am talking about but I want to be sure of my shot before significantly modify the look of the whole yard.

The spot that I am referring to is also right next to the patio which is made out of solid chalk. I am really not too sure of what I could plant in that spot that is native, attracts wildlife and does not require a whole lot of care. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

And as for the pack of seeds that I was talking about previously, it mentions to plant early in the Spring. When exactly would be a good time assuming that the last period of frost is normally around May 20th in my region (Ottawa region) ?

Once again, thank you for reading me and for helping me.

All the best,


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 4:07PM
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there are joe pye weed seeds but Ive not been successful in growing mine from seeds. I have a dwarf variety which grows to 4 feet. The regular plant grows to 6 feet. It's quite the plant and it does eat up a lot of space. Birds absolutely adore them. My backyard is a haven for birds. I just love hearing them and seeing them eat from teh feeder and wash in the pond.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 5:10PM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

Hi Matt,

If something says "plant in early spring", that would be as soon as the soil can be worked (not frozen or wet), so probably anywhere between mid-March and mid-April in Ottawa, depending on year. This mostly applies to hardy annuals and cool season vegetables. However, in this particular case, you have tender annuals in that mix so I would question those instructions. Plant these after your last frost date.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 6:13PM
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sharont(z5 can)

You could sow all those seeds from the package in the fall in a temporary prepared bed for winter treatment or 'cold period'. Nature does the rest. The trick is to identify what each genus is after they germinate in spring and transplant to their permanent spots in early June as small first year perennials. The blanket flower "may" bloom next year. The remaining would need another year of growth before flowering.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 12:01AM
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